“I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours … I Promise Not to Tell Anyone,” (Teacher Evaluation Scores are Released to Teachers/Principals)

Teachers flocked back to school on the Tuesday after Labor Day and aside from greeting colleagues each teacher and principal received their score under the state teacher/principal evaluation plan.

The system, called Advance, is described by the department,

Advance, New York City’s new system of teacher evaluation and development, was designed to provide the City’s teachers with accurate feedback on their performance and the support necessary to improve their practice, with the goal of improved student outcomes to ensure all students graduate college and career ready.

Though Advance was formally established on June 1, 2013 in alignment with the New York State Education Department’s education law 3012-c on teacher and school leader performance reviews, its design was informed by three years of pilot work in New York City’s schools. Advance uses multiple measures – including observations of classroom practice, review of teachers’ artifacts, student outcome data, and student feedback – to provide teachers, school leaders, and families with a more accurate understanding of teacher effectiveness than ever before.

As reported by Chalkbeat,

Ninety-eight percent of teachers statewide received top ratings, “effective” or “highly effective,” on the 60 percent of their evaluations made up primarily of observations, the data shows. Less than 1 percent of teachers earned the lowest rating on their observations.

Nearly nine times as many teachers, or about 4 percent, received low ratings on the 40 percent of their evaluations that use a combination of state and local tests.

Under the former “S” or “U,” satisfactory or unsatisfactory system, 2.7%, of teachers received a “U rating” for the 12-13 school year.

The percent of teachers in New York City rated “unsatisfactory/ineffective” dropped to 1%.for the 2013-14 school year.

There is a new two-level system of appeals of “ineffective” (“U”) ratings in New York City.

There are two different types of appeals in the new evaluation system: chancellor’s appeals and panel appeals. All teachers are entitled to a chancellor’s appeal. After talking to you and reviewing your forms and supporting documentation, the UFT will determine whether your case may be appropriate for a panel appeal.

Chancellor’s appeals

A hearing office from the DOE’s Office of Appeals and Review, the same office that hears U rating appeals, will hear your case. Unlike the U rating appeals process, which can drag on for months, the DOE hearing officer has 30 days to issue a decision in a chancellor’s appeal.

Panel appeals

The union can identify up to 13 percent of all Ineffective ratings each year to challenge on grounds of harassment or reasons not related to job performance.

These cases will be heard by a three-member panel comprised of a person selected by the DOE, a person selected by the UFT, and a neutral arbitrator.

While the number of teacher rated unsatisfactory exceeded 2000 in the 12-13 school year the number of teachers who faced dismissal charges for incompetence was under 100.

It is baffling that the Bloomberg administration did not vigorously pursue charges of imcompetence against teachers, in fact, department lawyers discouraged principals.

The new law (State Education Law 3012c) sets forth a process in which two consecutive ineffective ratings, and, if the year two independent validator agrees, the school district may bring dismissal charges,

If a teacher receives an ineffective rating for a school year in
which the teacher is in year two status and the independent validator
agrees, the district may bring a proceeding pursuant to sections three
thousand twenty and three thousand twenty-a of this article based on a
pattern of ineffective teaching or performance. In such proceeding, the
charges shall allege that the employing board has developed and
substantially implemented a teacher improvement plan in accordance with
subdivision four of this section for the employee following the
evaluation made for the year in which the employee was in year one
status and was rated ineffective. The pattern of ineffective teaching or
performance shall give rise to a rebuttable presumption of incompetence
and if the presumption is not successfully rebutted, the finding, absent
extraordinary circumstances, shall be just cause for removal.

One of the major criticisms of the new system is the instability of the scores. The swings in individual teacher scores can vary significantly from year to year – the bottom line: the 1% of teachers who received “ineffective” ratings in the 12-13 school year may NOT be the same teachers who received an “ineffective” rating for the 13-14 school year.

Since the students change every year and some teachers change grades taught the supposed impact of teachers on students can vary widely. If a teacher receives an “ineffective” rating due to low student scores on state tests a legal challenge may be sustained. Additionally an unanswerable question: is there a consistency in scoring among supervisory observers? Yes, all supervisors in New York City use the Danielson Frameworks; do they see lessons through the same lens? We don’t know.

The core question: does the evaluation score assist the teacher in improving their practice? The answer is a resounding “no.” Hopefully the principal meets with the teacher after every observation and informally during the school year and coaches the teacher; for example. does the lesson foster higher order thinking skills? Do questions move up the ladder from recall to analysis to comparison to inference to evaluation?

However, the grades on student tests scores (20%) and the local measures (20%) are baffling, neither teachers nor supervisors can tell a teacher why they got their grade and how the grade can be used for improvement.

Perhaps the 35% of New York State democratic voters who cast ballots for Zephyr Teachout will impact the Governor’s education policy … perhaps a teacher evaluation plan that both assesses practice and assists teachers in getting better.

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